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Female politicos, PM, pack Rideau Club for Equal Voice’s welcome to the Hill shindig (Hill Times)

Feb 22, 2016

 

This article was originally published in The Hill Times. It was written by Rachel Aiello on February 22, 2016. 
 

Female politicos, PM, pack Rideau Club for Equal Voice’s welcome to the Hill shindig

 
By RACHEL AIELLO | 
Published: Monday, 02/22/2016 12:00 am EST
Last Updated: Monday, 02/22/2016 12:16 pm EST

Okay ladies, now let’s get in formation, as Beyoncé says. And in so many words that was the direction to the dozens of female Members of Parliament filling the room overlooking the Hill at the Rideau Club on Wednesday night as they gathered for an historic photo opportunity organized by Equal Voice, the non-partisan group dedicated to getting more women elected. Many of the 88 female MPs elected into the 42nd Parliament, along with female MLAs and MPPs, staffers, lobbyists, and a few journalists filled the once men-only Ottawa club on Feb. 17 for the party.

 

HILL LIFE & PEOPLE SLIDESHOWS
Female politicos, PM, pack Rideau Club for Equal Voice's celebration of women elected Feb. 22, 2016
 
 
The Hill Times photograph by Cynthia Münster

NDP MP Christine Moore and her baby Daphnée with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the event on Wednesday, Feb. 17, at the Rideau Club. 

It was a full house of politicians from all levels of government and where female empowerment was the theme of the evening. Early in the evening, people mixed and mingled, making introductions while anxiously awaiting the arrival of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire-Trudeau.

 

Fashionably late, Mr. Trudeau and Ms. Grégoire-Trudeau arrived, flanked by assistant Tommy Desfossés, photographer Adam Scotti, and PMO press secretary Cameron Ahmad. They made their rounds in the room saying hello and taking selfies with nearly everyone in the room.Party Central watched the swarm of self-facing cameras and smiling women of all ages crowd in to get snaps. It was the first time a sitting Prime Minister has ever attended an Equal Voice event, but just when the rounds of photos seemed to come to an end, Party Central thought, “surely, he will make a speech, or say something, right?” But no, he was off.

 

Throughout the evening, servers circled the room with trays of beverages and delicious snacks, including tomato and bocconcini skewers, a salmon and cream cheese spoonful, vegetarian spring rolls, fish cakes, chicken kebabs, goat cheese tarts, and Party Central’s favourite, a Thai steak and mango square on an ornate twisted spoon.

 

A little after Mr. Trudeau and his entourage left the building, Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu took to a podium at the front of the space and gave an impassioned speech about why she got into politics, acknowledging the barriers women often face. Ms. Hajdu also brought news to the event, announcing that soon her department would be seeking proposals to bring more women into the public sphere, including how to employ indigenous women to empower their communities and how to remove barriers to women’s civic participation.

 

Ms. Hajdu also called up NDP MP Christine Moore, who she described as the “changing face” of 2016 politics, because she’s bringing her baby Daphnée with her as she does her work. The two were in attendance and Equal Voice provided childcare for those who needed it during the event.

 

There was a full roster of other speakers, including Barbara Dumont-Hill an Anishinaabe community leader who before performing an honour song, declared “it’s 2016 and it’s a great day to be a woman in Canada”; Equal Voice’s National Chair Lynne Hamilton, who said Canadian politics “was due for a makeover”; PC Nepean-Carleton MPP Lisa MacLeod who joked that there is only one job in Ottawa that is for men only, “shovelling snow,” and implored the women in the room to consider where they’re standing, a traditionally male-dominated, and male founded space; and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May—who in true Liz May style—by the end of the evening got everyone in the room to yell “I am a feminist.”

 

But, by the end of the evening, even the lady-loving, and Spice Girls Girl Power embracingParty Central was feeling like a bad feminist. The speeches, albeit each unique seemed to go on for too long to all come to the same point: more women = better politics. We get it, it’s 2016. A line that to Party Central lost all its genuine sentiment after CBC’s Peter Mansbridge revealed it to be a Gerald Butts creation.

 

House Speaker Geoff Regan and his wife, Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan, Health Minister Jane Philpott and lots of Liberal MPs were at the event.

Liberal MPs Karen McCrimmonPam Goldsmith-JonesSalma Zahid and her stafferJeff JedrasJohn OliverSven Spengemann and his staffer Adrian Zita-Bennett,Adam VaughanJoyce MurrayPam DamoffGudie HutchingsYvonne Jones,Karina GouldCelina Caesar-ChavannesKyle PetersonRuby SahotaAnita VandenbeldBardish ChaggerIqra Khalid, and Ginette Petitpas Taylor were all there.

Conservative MPs Kellie LeitchCathy McLeod and Marilyn Gladu, and NDP MPsChristine MooreNikki AshtonSheila MalcolmsonGeorgina JoliboisTracey RamseyCheryl Hardcastle, and Rachel Blaney were all there too.

 

Other attendees included: Equal Voice’s Nancy PeckfordDenise SieleMary Anne CarterScott Thurlow; Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth; United States Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and his wife Vicki; Johnson & Johnson’s Lesia Babiak; Canada 2020’s Susan Smith; RBC’s George Wamala; NWAC’s Jenn Jefferys; Economic Club of Canada’s Natasha Morano; Environics’ Greg MacEachern; strategist Kathleen Monk; Shaw’s Alayne Crawford; and Actua’s Kristina Martin.

 

raiello@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times

 

Link to original http://www.hilltimes.com/party-central/hill-life-people/2016/02/22/female-politicos-pm-pack-rideau-club-for-equal-voices/45351?

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